Samsung Mobile has weathered withering criticism for being slow to pushing Android 2.2 upgrades to its handful of popular Galaxy S devices, which have sold more than 10 million units.
T-Mobile customers at least have begun to get a reprieve from this delay, as Samsung confirmed Jan. 21 it has started rolling out the Android 2.2 upgrade for the Galaxy S Vibrant smartphone. Getting here has been a long road.
Rumors surfaced in October that the Android 2.2, or Froyo, upgrade would be coming to the Android 2.1-based Samsung Fascinate on Verizon Wireless, Captivate on AT&T, Epic 4G on Sprint and the Vibrant.
But while Motorola and HTC upgraded their Android 2.1 handsets to Android 2.2, Samsung failed to deliver the over-the-air provision of the new OS for its handsets in the United States.
Samsung was cagey about the Froyo delays. Tensions boiled over Jan. 12 when AndroidSpin cited an alleged T-Mobile source who claimed Samsung was withholding the Froyo bump.
"Samsung has NOT allowed us to push the update OTA for 2.2 because they feel it will decrease the value of the upcoming Vibrant 4G," the source said.
While the blogosphere blew up with the news, a Samsung Galaxy S customer filed a class-action lawsuit versus T-Mobile and Samsung over the matter, alleging that Samsung wanted to charge existing customers for software updates.
Samsung flatly denied this allegation in a statement to eWEEK:
"Samsung does not charge carriers for updates to new versions of Android," the spokesperson said. "We are working to make the Android 2.2/Froyo upgrade available to all U.S. Galaxy S owners as soon as possible. Due to the complexity and unique functionality of each Galaxy S device, we are performing additional testing."
T-Mobile executives convened in New York Jan. 20, and while there was no talk of the Samsung Vibrant 4G that is allegedly responsible for the Android 2.2 delay, they did unveil the Samsung Galaxy S 4G.
At the event, T-Mobile CMO Cole Brodman told PC Magazine that the Froyo delay was technical in nature and that the upgrade would begin rolling out Friday, Jan. 21, to Samsung Galaxy S Vibrant customers.